Mark received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Alfred University in Alfred, New York in 1989. He received his Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts in 1993. He and his wife K, and their two boys have lived in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1995. He currently lives and maintains an art studio in Missouri Heights Carbondale, CO.
Mark’s studio practice focuses on transforming reclaimed painted steel from old cars, trucks, and farming equipment into poetic constructions. Each unique work is a bridge between sculpture and painting. The objects he incorporates into his work; once had a utilitarian life then a death and finally, a rebirth into his artwork. Mark looks at each piece as collaboration between man, time and nature.
Mark’s work is exhibited nationally, and he is represented in some of the most prestigious private and public collections in the world.
My work, for many years, has centered around transforming found discarded metal into art. Each unique piece I create is a bridge between sculpture and painting. Working with steel this process consists of using heavy equipment, power tools and welders but in the end the finished work resembles a painting. I do not paint or alter the surfaces. I am a purest when it comes to the found object. I do not alter the steel surfaces except to wash and clear coat them. This preserves them. The metal I choose are one of a kind surfaces. They have taken years to develop through the hand of man, time, wear and nature. To alter the surfaces would destroy this history and the intrinsic qualities that have taken years to create. The objects I use once had a utilitarian life, then a death and finally a rebirth. The use of found objects in art holds a long history. The work of Duchamp, Picasso, Calder, David Smith, John Chamberlain have all inspired me in this direction. The addition of the Baroque style wood frames to the metal panels dates them and adds importance or elegance to the metal fragments. This process transforms these found painted metal panels to reference works by master painters such as de Kooning, Motherwell and Dubuffet.
In recent months, I began working with Styrofoam. Polystyrene or Styrofoam is a concerning waste hazard to the world’s environment. This material is widely used for packing, it is everywhere, with rarely a place to recycle it. Scientific estimates say that Styrofoam is a material that can take one million years to breakdown in the Earth’s environment. These durable properties also make it an excellent material for art making. I started collecting Styrofoam from packaging delivered to my home and studio. Being an environmentalist, I didn’t want to discard them. I became intrigued by these forms that once filled the negative spaces for items of value. They are a memory of the items they once protected. They are a shell or a modern fossil of contemporary society. For a material that has such a long lifespan, their usefulness is very short lived. With my history of working with discarded objects, I decided to transform the material. I retain the forms natural state, the way I found them, I only change the surface. I add heat, adhesive, metal powders of bronze, copper and steel. I then finish them with patinas and a clear coat. This transforms the polystyrene. This process adds the illusion of weight, age and material change. Bronze and copper have a long history in the art making world, they are a highly valued metals used to monumentalize people and objects of importance to last the test of time. In my vision, these once discarded objects now resemble aged relics of a lost world.